Wareham sewer officials seek to borrow $10 million for pipe repairs

By Matthew Bernat | Feb 20, 2018
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Wareham Water Pollution Control Facility Director Guy Campinha, left, and Sewer Commission Chair Jim Giberti discuss a proposal to borrow $10 million for a sewer main repair.

To avoid collapse, a nearly 50-year-old sewer main requires $10 million worth of repairs, officials said Tuesday.

Speaking before Selectmen, Wareham Water Pollution Control Facility Director Guy Campinha and Sewer Commission Chair Jim Giberti said the pipe is at the end of its life expectancy. The pipe runs for 2.2-miles from Swifts Beach to Wareham Village and is made of reinforced concrete.

Both asked Selectmen to place the issue before voters at Special Town Meeting on April 28. There, voters will be asked to approve borrowing $10 million for the repairs. Selectmen unanimously approved the request.

Officials said the funds might be paid back over a 20-year period. However, they are still weighing options, such as how much to spend from the sewer department’s capital fund, which has a total of $10 million. The capital fund is used to make infrastructure repairs to the sewer system.

Without the repairs, the pipe is “susceptible to collapse” and could endanger homes and environmentally sensitive areas, said Campinha.

“Time is of the essence,” he said. “It’s significantly in trouble due to corrosion.”

Another problem is a large amount of groundwater leaking into the pipe near Merchants Way, said Campinha. He noted that approximately 5 million gallons of water is getting into the sewer system, which costs $420,000 to treat annually.

Campinha said he’s eyeing an innovative method for reinforcing the pipe.

Campinha explained that to reline the pipe a fiber glass “sock” coated in non-toxic epoxy will be fitted over the pipe. Steam is then applied to cure the material, encasing the pipe. The repair will have a life expectancy of approximately 50 years.

Special Town Meeting will be held during the April 28 Town Meeting, set to start at 7 p.m. in the Wareham High School auditorium. All registered voters may participate.

Selectman Patrick Tropeano points to an image of the inside of a sewer main that needs extensive repairs. (Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
Comments (16)
Posted by: cranky pants | Feb 21, 2018 07:15

Thankfully this will come out of Wareham's pocket, not Onset... Right guys ?

Posted by: WantToSeeChange | Feb 21, 2018 07:30

Last I checked, Onset doesn't have a waste water treatment plant.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Feb 21, 2018 07:54

$900 a foot? Are you out of your mind? Camphina needs to go! Pay for it with the profits from Greasezilla, oh that's right that was another one of his boondoggles and we are losing money there too.

Posted by: sadie | Feb 21, 2018 08:01

sphere they said it would cost 5x that if they dug up the pipes and replaced them. The pipes are a mess and if they break when they dig them and they are in one f the conservation areas it would cost a fortune for clean up. They kept saying this happened in Plymouth and the clean up is going to cost 50 million. 900 a foot is cheaper then digging up pipes they said that some parts of Onset will need this done to the pipes.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Feb 21, 2018 12:02

Onset is part of Wareham when it comes to Sewer.  The same Water Pollution Control Facility serves all.  The dueling districts only applies to water.


Being able to flush and have it go away and be someone else's problem for a few hundred bucks a year is a bargain!  Having sewerage is a wonderful thing! Anyone with septic that stores their poop in their back yard knows this first hand.  There should be no complaints.  Fix it.


Bellyaching over a 50 year old pipe with a 50 year life expectancy just sounds silly.  Fix it.  All have known for 50 years that there would be an expense at the end of 50 years.  Fix it.  Or don't and let it burst sewage into our beautiful sensitive waters!  Seems like a no brainer.  Fix it!


This smells a lot like the drama about the High School roof with the 20 year life expectancy.  It started leaking after 25 years and everyone seemed so surprised and cried poor mouth.  Woe is us...Pictures of catch buckets were in the paper.  Students started a campaign.  Gimme a break!  They got 25 years out of a 20 year roof so they should have had 5 years more to save for the replacement!  No different than a homeowner.  I put 30 year shingles on my roof.  I have allocated a small amount of money each year to pay for the roof that will need to be replaced around the year 2025.  What's so hard about that?  It is simple planning and common sense.


Fix it...or don't and let it burst...



Posted by: cranky pants | Feb 21, 2018 12:57

Thanks for the clarity, I wasn't being serious with my opening post.

I agree though, it's either fix or deep doo-doo.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Feb 21, 2018 17:24

Oh my, Wareham Water Dept. rate payers have a 14 million water treatment facility to pay for, Onset has a new fire station to pay for, add $10 million in sewer pipe repairs to be shared, I assume, by all property owners, and the proposed new elementary school cost is set at how much???


Yes, I do understand the state will reimburse approximately 70 percent of the new school cost, but doesn't the state require the school to be completed before they provide reimbursement for any of the construction costs?


I'm not saying these things aren't essential, it's just a lot coming all at once.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Feb 21, 2018 17:58

Yep...when it rains it pours... the car is in the shop, the washing machine is on the fritz, the cat needs a hairball removed and the mortgage is due.  That's life...

Posted by: rhbinma | Feb 21, 2018 22:10

Dont they collect money for repairs with each bill? So there should already be money there for repairs

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Feb 22, 2018 07:52

That maybe life in the real world but not in Wareham. Life in the real world we balance our household finances and spread out purchasing thing that we want or need. New School=Nice to have but no need. Onset Fire House=nice to have but deficiently no need. Sewer pipe repair= probably needs done but needs to be removed and replaced or you still have 50 YO pipe with bandaid. Water treatment plant= Cost should be recovered from the polluting party or clean up by polluting party, ratepayers should not be saddled with this debt. Not one of these needs to be done right away but still they are being jammed down our throats. Wareham is doomed.to be a lowincome housing plot with a few highend areas along the water. Wont be long till I rent my home to section 8 and get the heck out of here. Cant wait! 

Posted by: bob | Feb 22, 2018 09:10

Gee,in just a few short months we won't need to worry about the problems this town is in,we all can go  buy a joint and that will make us all so happy and forget the problems this town is in..Don't worry be happy.....

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Feb 22, 2018 15:58

There has been conversation around this pipe for at least 8 years. I remember when it first came up when I was on the Board. And when Patrick got elected he brought it up quite often, and I believe it was on his check list when we handed by Town Meeting vote the Sewer Commissioners as a newly elected Board. So this is no surprise. Guy does have the money in his Capital Account the issue is and I'm sure Legal will figure this out is whether this repair of existing pipe falls under improvements to the Sewer Treatment as a whole. Based on past decisions of these sorts, "repairs" do not fall under "improvements", and therefore spending the Capital money on this may be a violation.

Posted by: Theresa ONeill | Feb 23, 2018 05:54

Sewer pipe should be fixed or replaced. Maintenence is cheaper than dealing with an emergency break and environmental cleannup.

There was talk of getting a wind turbine to defray the cost of electricity needed to run the facility. This seems lime a no-brainer and it could help toward keeping rates low or putting more money into maintenance/capital improvements.

Has thus idea been eliminated?

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Feb 23, 2018 16:25

There will be no wind turbine.  The town is locked into a solar deal.  Plus wind turbines are too controversial.  Oh yea, has anyone seen their rates go down as a result of the solar?...anybody?... didn't think so...

Posted by: bob | Feb 24, 2018 14:30

What ever happen to that grease machine that the WPC  SUPERVISOR  had to have,that he claim was going to change grease to gold for the town.....

Posted by: totellthetruth | Feb 25, 2018 07:32

I think the Greaszilla,as they called it, was dependent on the price they could get for the finished product. Although I never actually saw the figures, I read a brochure online regarding the machines pros and cons. The actual numbers escaped my memory but, I recall it cost somewhere around $2.50 per gal. to process this oil /grease. If the retail price for commercially processed oil is below that figure it would make it economically unfeasible to manufacture this product and make a profit.

You can't sell it cheaper than it costs you to process it.It's the same comparison to Wind/Solar. Its not cheaper- Its just better for our environment in the long term.

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